Found Poems: Listening to Others


The awkward unsteady
became cozy and weak

Wind . . . oh, I thought
of the vivid red
violin wild serenade

--Marilyn Perry

A few years before my mother died of Parkinson's, she worked with an art therapist. Holly facilitated Mother's artwork and took notes of the things she said. I went through a folder this morning, thinking I would toss them, but I couldn't. Instead I found a poem. It needed only my arrangement, and the brushing away of a few extra words.    

Listening to someone whom people have stopped listening to is an incredible thing to do. It was a struggle for me to listen to my mother in her last years, as I always wanted to bolt from that decrepit nursing home, fast as I could.

Some years after my mother died, though, I started working with a group of seniors, taking down notes of their life stories and appreciating their memories. It was one of the most formative, powerful, and exhausting things I have ever done.

The awkward, unsteady thing became cozy and weak. I learned to let difficult feelings fly like leaves in the wind. The compassion and caring, the blood-red love of words, and the appreciation for beauty are what remain. 


  1. Your words so beautiful and meaningful. Thanks Christi.

  2. "blood-red love of words" - so beautiful! What a wonderful testimony to the power of listening.


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